BC health officials have announced that gyms and fitness centres will be able to reopen on January 20 as part of a phased reopening.
The original provincial health order, which was put in place on December 22, also impacted indoor gatherings and table sizes at restaurants. It ruled that mingling would not be permitted at food-service establishments and forced a 50% capacity limit at all organized events regardless of their size. Those orders will remain in place until February 16.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon.
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BC business owners and gym enthusiasts alike will be able to return to gyms and fitness centres on January 20, with new measures in place. Those measures will include occupancy limits and what BC health officials are calling “strict safety plans.”
“Today I’m taking the cautious step of reopening gyms and exercise facilities,” Henry announced.
This includes individual and group fitness. Vaccines will continue to be required at all locations. Physical distancing requirements will also be in place. Masks must be worn at all times, except during exercise, but Henry encouraged masks to be worn even then. Appointments will also be encouraged to help manage the flow of traffic.
While there was good news for gyms and fitness centres, bars and nightclubs will remain closed for a while longer.
“I will be extending the current restrictions on events and gatherings through to February 16,” added Henry. At that point, BC health officials will be reevaluating whether or not to keep those measures in place.
The ruling for businesses to implement a COVID-19 safety plan will also continue.
This announcement might seem like a surprise to some, as an updated health order that circulated online yesterday suggested closures could be extended indefinitely. They confirmed in Monday’s COVID-19 update that the health order had been extended, but didn’t divulge how long it had been extended for.
Henry apologized for the confusion.
Some gyms and fitness centres decided to open before the announcement was made, as an act of defiance.